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Movie Review: "Dhamarukam"; Director: Sreenivass Reddie; Star Cast: Akkineni Nagarjuna, Anushka Shetty, Prakash Raj, Ravi Shankar, Ganesh Venkatraman, Brahmanandam, Raghu Babu, M.S Narayana and Krishna Bhagwan; Rating: **1/2 - stretched and narratively lackluster.

In a desperate attempt to marry socio?fantasy with modern day fiction, director Sreenivass Reddie doesn't inspire with his partly visually pleasing picture "Dhamarukam", which happens to be stretched and dreary overall.

The film presents itself as the frontrunner in the graphics department, but sadly it isn't. After its makers spent nearly two years on the output, which largely relies on the visuals, it makes one wonder that is this film we eagerly waited for?

In a mythological war between gods and asuras (demons), the entire race of the asuras is wiped clean but for one, and he happens to be Andhakasura aka Ravi Shankar, who swears to avenge the death of his people and in turn win over the world.

A thousand years later, Andhakasura finds out that in order to take control over the five elements of nature, he should wed and sacrifice a girl who is born with the blessings of goddess Parvati, and she happens to be Mahi aka Anushka. However, for it to happen, he should first kill a 12?year old boy ? a devout devotee of lord Shiva, who may be his only hindrance. The asura kills the boy's family and assumes that the boy is dead too. The boy is mysteriously saved and grows up to become Mallikarjuna aka Nagarjuna, with extreme hatred towards Shiva, whom he believes was responsible for the death of his family.

Will Malli eventually belive in god and save the girl and thereby the world from the clutches of the asura, forms the rest of the narrative.

As a viewer, you are hooked for at least the first few minutes, but sadly what follows is a typical commercial mass masala affair. The film could have been easily chopped by at least 15 to 20 minutes had only the director avoided sub?plots and the effort of teleporting the lead pair to groove to the songs in exotic locales. While the comedy does serve as a breather in the overall stretched plot, it isn't the rib?tickling types that will leave you in guffaws.

The partly satisfying visuals do offer some strikingly captivating moments that are worth a mention, and especially the scenes involving the technically developed world of the asuras or even some portion of Andhakasura's character.

Nag's transformation from Sai Baba to an evil?fighting hero with ease and elan is extraordinary, while his co?star, Anushka, who is known for her performance in another socio?fantasy flick called "Arundhati", barely has any part to play here. You wonder what her character in the film really is because she claims to be a doctor, but isn't of any use or even advice when her own father meets with an accident.

Ravi Shankar, with his noticeable voice and menacing looks as the asura turns in a brilliant performance that will definitely win him laurels.

"Dhamarukam" had a strong premise that could have made it one of the best socio?fantasy flicks, but thanks to the director's intent to make it a commercial entertainer, we are disappointed on the whole.

IANS

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